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Posts Tagged ‘Timothée Chalamet’

Timothee Chalamet, Steve Carell

“BEAUTIFUL BOY” My rating: B

120 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Drug addiction movies are a bit like Holocaust movies.

Even if the film is well made, the subject matter is tremendously off-putting and depressing. It takes something remarkable, a new way of looking at the topic, to make the painful bearable.

“Beautiful Boy” comes close. It is based on journalist David Sheff’s memoir of dealing with his son Nic’s addiction, as well as a second memoir by Nic.  There’s little emphasis here on the usual tropes of the genre…back-alley drug buys, spoons and needles, withdrawal agonies.

Instead the film puts a parent’s horror and anxiety front and center, and by doing so it forces every viewer — or at least those with children — to question how they would deal with a similar situation.

Coddle? Criticize? Wash your hands of an uncontrollable child?

At various points in Felix Van Groeningen’s film, all those options are examined. And it helps immeasurably that the film stars Steve Carell as the elder Sheff and the ever-resourceful Timothy Chalamet as his tormented son, Nic.

The  screenplay by Van Groningen and Luke Davis cleverly juggles its time frame, opening with a conversation between the deeply concerned David and a drug counselor and then employing a series of jumbled flashbacks to tell the story of this father and son.

A narratively straightforward, step-by-step depiction of young Nic’s descent into depravity might be too much to handle; by zigging and zagging between the family’s homey past and its uncomfortable present, the film offers an emotional buffer between the audience and the film’s inescapable angst.

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Timothee Chalamet

“HOT SUMMER NIGHTS” My rating: C

107 minutes | MPAA rating: R

For his feature writing/directing debut Elijah Bynum has assembled an impressive cast (including “Call Me By Your Name’s” Oscar-nominated Timothy Chalamet) and delivered a stylish and great-looking movie.

Too bad it can’t overcome the script’s near-fatal shortcomings.

Basically this is a coming-of-age story, but while most such efforts mine the lighthearted and comedic, “Hot Summer…” veers into serious, even deadly territory.

Daniel (Chalamet) is a grumpy teen whose single mom sends him off to spend the summer with a (unseen) relative on Cape Cod.  There the kid is exposed to the dual worlds of the rich vacationing “summer birds” and the blue collar townies.

Almost from the first frame Bynum announces he’s going to push the envelope.  The opening sequences are narrated by a 13-year-old boy (we never get his name) who lives year-round on the Cape and describes (“I  can’t swear to every last detail…”) how this particular summer (1991) saw the birth of a local legend.

Early on Daniel falls under the influence of Hunter Strawberry (Alex Roe), a sort of James Dean-ish heartthrob who wears a black leather jacket on hot summer days and still manages to look cool.

Hunter is a shady but charismatic character whom the local kids believe to have committed a murder (we get a montage of talking-head youngsters attesting to his awesomeness). That claim seems doubtful, but  the local law certainly would love to nail him for peddling weed to the summer birds.

Hunter and Daniel contract with Dex, a local marijuana wholesaler (Emory Cohen), to distribute ever-bigger shipments of grass.  Daniel is the instigator of this rapid expansion; he has cousins all over the East Coast who become his ground-level dealers.

Pretty soon Daniel and Hunter are rolling in green.

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